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Microsoft to lay siege on Slack with free Microsoft Teams launch

Summer is heating up in more ways than one, and whilst the sun is beating down on the UK, Microsoft are heating up the enterprise software market with recently revealed plans to offer a free version of its workplace collaboration software Teams, to better compete against its main rival Slack.

Free version of Microsoft Teams to target SME's

Until this announcement, businesses that didn't have an Office 365 subscription were limited to just a one-month free trial, which wasn't ideal in helping them to decide on whether the product was useful for their business.

The free version of Microsoft Teams aims to make it easier for potential customers, usually those that work collaboratively in teams and SME's, to incorporate the use of Microsoft products into their day to day activities, in the hope that they then go on to upgrade to full Office 365 subscriptions.

“We naturally want customers who are using the free version to upgrade to the full Office 365 version,” Lori Wright, general manager of Microsoft 365 Teamwork, told Reuters in a June 28 interview.

Microsoft looking to drive more Teams usage

Microsoft and Slack have been directly competing in this market ever since Microsoft launched Teams in the early part of 2017.

As of March this year, Microsoft revealed that Microsoft Teams was used by 200,000 organisations whilst back in May Slack revealed that it had 70,000 paying organisations using its product.

This follows other major players such as Facebook and Google, as well as Slack and Microsoft, making inroads into this market through the launch of workplace collaboration products. And, indeed, who can blame them with the market set to be worth $3.2 billion by 2021, according to the leading research firm IDC.

Things are heating up

Even before Microsoft's plans were revealed, Slack had already announced it's latest waves of product improvements in the form of search features which will aim to make it simpler for users to find messages.

The newly improved search features will be automatically applied to all versions of Slack, with the full roll out to happen shortly.

In the other corner, even though the free version of Microsoft Teams will not have all the bells and whistles of the fully paid version in Office 365, it will incorporate some features that are not offered by Slack's free versions, which could tempt their customers to make the switch over. Some of the free features mentioned include unlimited searches and unlimited app integrations.

It will be interesting to see how this battle heats up for the rest of the year and we’ll be following it every step of the way!

If you are looking to try out the free version of Microsoft Teams or are looking to upgrade or renew your existing Office 365 subscriptions then get in touch with Advantage today.

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